Donna Shader, manager of the Winter Park Hotel, is considering how to restructure the
front desk to reach an optimum level of staff efficiency and guest service. At present, the
hotel has five clerks on duty, each with a separate waiting line, during the peak check-in
time of 3:00 pm. To 5:00 pm. Observation of arrivals during this time shows that an
average of 80 guests arrive each hour (although there is no upward limit on the number
that could arrive at any given time). It takes an average of 3.2 minutes for each frontdesk clerk to register each guest. Donna is considering three plans for improving guest
service by reducing the length of time guests spend waiting in line.
The first proposal would designate one employee as a quick-service clerk for guests
registering under corporate accounts, a market segment that fills about 30% of all
occupied rooms. Because corporate guests are preregistered, their registration takes just
2 minutes. With these guests separated from the rest of the clientele, the average time for
registering a typical guest would climb to 3.8 minutes. Under Plan 1, noncorporate
guests would choose any of the remaining four lines.
The second plan is to implement a single-line system. All guests could form a single
waiting line to be served by whichever of five clerks became available. This option
would require sufficient lobby space for what could be a substantial queue.
The third proposal involves using an automatic teller machine (ATM) for check-ins. This
ATM would provide a service just slightly better than a clerk, 3.0 minutes. Given that
initial use of this technology might be minimal, Shader estimates that 20% of customers,
primarily frequent guests, would be willing to use the machines. (This might be a
conservative estimate if the guests perceive direct benefits from using the ATM, as bank
customers do. Citibank reports that some 95% of its Manhattan customers use its ATMs.)
Donna would set up a single queue for customers who prefer human check-in clerks.
This would be served by the five clerks, although Donna is hopeful that the machine will
allow a reduction to four.
1. Determine the average amount of time that a guest spends checking in under the
current mode of operation. How would this change under each of the stated
2. Which option do you recommend?
3. What other considerations or limitations should be considered/evaluated?
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